Disability Evangelists Speak Up For Challenges Of Persons With Disabilities In COVID Times At 7th National Conference On Disability

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this annual national conference was held online.

Sarthak Educational Trust and National Abilympic Association of India hosted the 2-day 7th National Conference on Disability on December 18th and 19th2020, based on the theme Digital Inclusion – Pathway to Empowerment of People with Disability. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this annual national conference was held online. The Inaugural day saw launch of CapSarathi, a one-of-its- kind, path-breaking mobile app that will help 10 cr disabled population reaching out to 718 districts and 664,369 villages in India. It is a joint initiative bySarthak Educational Trust and Capgemini, a global leader in consulting & technology services with six language support Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada& Bengali.

The Day 2 of the event saw some hard-hitting sessions by major disability evangelists from the country. The Super idol panel saw real life struggles and indomitable spirits of champions with disability. "Govt starting more rehab centes for the persons with disabilities is the need, laws & quota available be implemented ", opined,Founder, Soulfree and disability activist Preethi Srinivasan.Rahul Gupta, Financial Sponsors Coverage, Axis Bank Ltdfurther added, "Organization's need to have a inclusive culture. Complaints don't help, take it up as an opportunity"

"Issues of Women with disabilities need to be dealt with at a different level", sharedAbhaKhetarpal, President, Cross the Hurdles, National Award Winner & 100 Women Achiever Awardee who has compiled manuals for menstrual hygiene for women with disability, healthcare access in hospitals, sexual and reproductive health course and also disability etiquette course for abled people & masses".

"Sarthak has had informal consultations with a number of PwD dedicated NGO’s and all have recognised the need of a forum for cooperation. RDSM ( RastriyaDivyangSashaktikaranManch)is thus an initiative by Sarthak to bring different Civil Society Organisations in disability sector together &catalyse the movement of empowerment of PwDs. The agenda is to penetrate at the grassroot level across rural India", shares Dr. Jitender Aggarwal, Founder, Sarthak Educational Trust. 

The RDSM Panel focussed on Collaborative action towards empowerment of PwDs through RastriyaDivyangSashaktikaranManch. As, Dr. MahanteshG.Kivadasannavar, Founder and Chairman, Samarthanam Internationalput forth, "Together we all can walk long, is the beauty of collaboration. Donor database, disability NGO alliance for stronger voice in front of the government are some of the advantages of working collectively".

Dr. Arvind Kulkarni of Kamayani institute Pune added, "We need to offer digital devices to people at grassroot level for efficient e-learning program. There should also be Intern matching programs with employers of PWD & PWD job aspirants".

"The focus should be on bridging the gap, leveraging the strengths of various NGO's & their best practices for a cohesive ecosystem. Our Mission1000works on a smiliar level, this campaign creates1000opportunities like skilling, livelihood etc for1000lives in1000days. With collective NGO support we are working towards this goal and beyond",added UshaPattabhiraman, lead for Mission1000, Enable India

The panel Early Intervention & Inclusive Education Panel highlighted the Digital Outreach and Physical Services for Intervention & Inclusive Education. "Early intervention makes child independent. These kids than can get into inclusive education, else it delays the development process. Covid has also proved as a challenge for parents to reach special educators/therapists. Parents rely on videos & techniques for therapy outreach",shared Dr. Nagaratna of Dr. RML Hospital.

"WHO has formed the global rehabilitation forum. It's very important for us also to have our best practices and share and adopt them. We need to also dedicate ourselves to Research for early intervention & inclusive education, put forthDr. Arun Agarwal, President, Sound Hearing2030.

NandiniRawal, Executive Director, Blind People's Associationadded, "90% of children with multiple disabilities are bereft of services & therapies. If you pick them early, it will help improve whatever ability they have and try giving them hope. Special educators & teachers are trained for such children".

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCIwhile speaking at the Valedictory Panel shared, “Sarthak has been instrumental in reaching out to the Persons with Disabilities across the country through their various initiatives. It is exciting to see the hardwork of team Sarthak at grass root level paying rich dividends. I have appealed to members of FICCI to help out Sarthak Educational Trust in many ways including providing job opportunities to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). We have already started to spread the word ofCapSarathiapp amongst our members and other organaisations”. 

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